Allergy Medications: Over-the-Counter
As you probably know from a trip to the drugstore, you can choose from dozens of over-the-counter medications that are designed to treat allergies. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, or both. Medications are most effective if you use them exactly as your doctor tells you.
Antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They work by stopping histamine from bothering the nasal tissues. These medications can help prevent symptoms like sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. There are two forms of antihistamines: pills and nasal sprays. You can buy some antihistamine medications without a prescription. Some of them may make you drowsy. Antihistamine medications that don’t make you drowsy are available with a prescription from your doctor.
|Decongestants shrink swollen nasal tissues.|
Decongestants reduce swelling of the nasal tissues, opening up your air passages and relieving sinus pressure. Like antihistamines, decongestants are available with or without a prescription. There are two forms of decongestants: pills and nasal sprays. Use pills for a few days when you need relief, but call your doctor if you need them every day for more than a week. Use over-the-counter nasal sprays only when your doctor recommends them. They can make symptoms worse if they’re overused.